Miguel learned to play guitar while living in the Philippines and as a guitar-for-hire in the southern US (chitlin' circuit). He performs solo; with his bands Bolera (Jazz), The Movemeant Band (Soul), ATM (Hip-Hop), and karne (Filipino Rock), or with other artists. He has written, recorded, and released over 100 original songs. He is currently based in Columbus, GA.
My dad bought me my first guitar when I was 10, but it wasn't until I was 15 and started jamming with my cousin Anto that I started taking it seriously. I still think he's the best guitarist I've ever seen. He showed me how to play all the classic rock and even some jazz and bossa nova songs that I liked as a kid. Most importantly, he spent an insane amount of time jamming with me on these progressions over and over until the guitar necks felt like extensions of our arms. He gave me a great foundation of practice and work ethic. By the time I left Manila (Philippines) to go to college in Baguio City, I was hungry and ready to cut my teeth as a guitar-for-hire for any band or artist that could use one.
Keep writing, and enjoy the music. There was a significant period in my music career when I played more gigs for money than for the actual fun of it. I wasn't writing, playing music that I enjoyed, or even trying to enjoy the music that I was performing. I was getting frustrated with the business side of it: booking gigs, hiring musicians, logistics, etc. It's very important to take a break, step back, and remember your reasons for doing something. I played music because it was fun, not because of its potential to make money. Although I have a family now, and my priorities are different, I have to remind myself that once in a while.
I always say that I play for free; I get paid to haul equipment. Whether I'm alone at my home studio or on stage in front of an audience, once I start playing guitar, I'm in my happy place. It's the same feeling as letting myself fall asleep and dream. There are no cares or worries, just a fun and crazy ride ahead where I have almost no control but complete faith. When the music is right, I feel more like a conduit and don't feel like I'm creating any of it. When I try to control it too much, it gets boring and repetitive. I use that energy for the gear hauling instead.
If my amp doesn't have distortion or even overdrive, it'll be a Wah, a Delay, and a Distortion pedal. If my amp at least has overdrive, then the third pedal would be a Reverb instead. As far as what brand, I have not experimented with enough different kinds to know what exact models, but Dunlop, TC Electronics, Mooer, and Digitech have been my go-to pedals so far.
My family is my main inspiration. It's easy to recharge my batteries by just spending time with my wife and kids. Other than that, cross-training is my method of keeping the creative juices flowing. I feel like whatever activity I do, as long as it requires basic principles like practice, exercise, and creative thinking, it will ultimately improve my music. When I am not feeling my best creatively, I take a break and do something else. I will focus on my health, eat and sleep better, and swim or play basketball more often. I will try my best to actually focus on something and completely forget about music. That break does wonders to my stress levels and creative blocks.
I consider my "favorite" artists/bands as the ones who inspired me the most to either pick up the guitar in the first place or pick it back up whenever I put it down for a long time. The ones who have done those things the most are Django Reinhardt, Jimi Hendrix, and Guthrie Govan. Every once in a while, I get inspired by artists I hear through other people, such as Tosin Abasi, Matteus Asato, or Tim Henson.
Most of the time, I just noodle and try out whatever weird sounds I can get, but when I like a guitar, I try out "Waves" by Guthrie Govan and "On Impulse" by Animals as Leaders. Both songs go throughout the neck and are great ways to test the overall feel and sound of the guitar.
I did not have a lot of money growing up and played a $50 strat copy for my first ten years of performing professionally. My first endorsement was in 2020 when PRS Guitars accepted me as a PRS Pulse Artist. After years of saving up and with the help of Artist Relations and the Artist Discount, I was able to purchase a PRS S2 Vela Semi-hollow in Frost Blue. Prior to this, I was working at Everything Musical, which is a local music store in Columbus, GA, so I knew all about the guitar but could not afford it at the time. So far, it has exceeded all my expectations and is the best feeling and sounding guitar I have owned. Also, it's beautiful to look at and is light as a feather. My Rattlesnake "Mean Green" Instrument Cables look and sound perfectly with it!
Now that I have my dream PRS S2 Vela guitar and the perfect Rattlesnake Instrument Cables to go with it, the sensible big purchase would be to get my dream Guitar Amplifier which is the Blackstar St. James 50-watt Tube Combo Amp. I have always loved Blackstar amps and currently use a Blackstar HT20R as my primary gigging and recording amp. St. James offers even better quality and is even more lightweight, which is a huge plus for me. As you may notice, I try to keep my equipment as light and minimal as possible.
Do you have to be a famous musician to be featured? No. Do you have to be a professional musician to be featured? No. Do you have passion about playing and gear -- oh and a verified Rattlesnake Cable Company cable user. Yes!
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